One of his last posts on Instagram was typical of John's humour and spirit "Anyone know of a large office that needs a splash of colour?"
I was deeply saddened to hear this morning of the passing of my dear friend and sometime artistic collaborator, John Rixon, who had been in hospital since having a stroke on Boxing Day.
John, also known by his artist name Amukidi was a gentleman in the truest sense of the word, a man who rarely played by the rules, a video artist and film maker, he was also involved in inspiring many pupils through his teaching. After first meeting him when musician Lol Hammond invited him to one of The Big Chill's nights at The Dogstar in Brixton, John went on to work at the centre of the hub that was The Big Chill's audio visual team, firstly as one of our VJs who created a unique magic with his sense of flow and colour and latterly as co-ordinator of the visual aspect of Big Chill performance, for which he received huge kudos and respect. He has also exhibited his works around the world.
He has an intuitive feel for the juxtaposition of colour and the way it would make you feel, the instinctive emotional impact of colours side by side, whether blended or starkly contrasted in isolation. His work taught me much about untapped potential to be moved by colour in the world.
Somewhere, stashed away I have a VHS copy of graphics John put together to sync with my entire Chilled By Nature 'Under One Sun' album which was screened once, at the launch in London in 2006. John also contributed graphics to Chilled By Nature's live shows and I valued his unique slant on what was visually possible, from projecting onto gauze in front of dancers at our first show through to our full AV set on the Sanctuary Stage in 2007. This Myogenic video of Chilled By Nature's 'Rolling' made by Jim Horsfield shows John's projections in the live set context.
Few people had the gift of effortlessly making me chuckle like John. The memories of heading off on a big tour bus in the early naughties with the Big Chill crew John, Laura B, Bruce Bickerton, Adam Seaman and Lol Hammond will stay with me forever, as will the moments of mirth in Naxos, in Prague and elswhere. John had a knack of cutting through the crap and delivering a sharp punch line that would have us all in stitches, whether it was a wry observation of everyday life as our tour bus arrived at its latest destination or a dry comment on the quality of Greek Mythos beer ("better than a hoof in the nads"). His oft-used term of self-deprecation was to refer to himself as a "cantankerous old git".
John and I managed to fit in a trip to Foxhall Heath, home of Ipswich Speedway a decade or so back won the occasion of them playing my team Coventry Bees and after that we went back to his house for a listen to one of his all-time favourites The Yes Album. John's musical tastes were often more in the present than the halcyon early days of prog rock and his Vimeo page (see link below) has examples of glorious collaborations with Tom Green aka Another Fine Day, Mozez, Isan, Roger Eno and many others. John was a huge music fan and knew what he liked but was always open-minded.
John (right) with Adam Seaman on tour with The Big Chill in Prague, June 2004
One of the last times I saw him and his wife Sarah was at the first Campfire Convention 001.UK when he played a few tunes as people were arriving on the Friday. It was great to see him after a while and he was looking well and happy. I would have loved the opportunity to say goodbye. I and others will be left with a sense of unfinished business but a whole host of memories that I will treasure.
"We lost a beautiful maverick" is the very prescient comment offered by my Big Chill co-conspirator Katrina Larkin today. It neatly sums up his spirit which will live on.
He will be hugely missed by us all, especially by his immediate family, wife Sarah, children Pheebs and Claire.